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J Pain Symptom Manage. 1995 Feb;10(2):113-9.

Unmet analgesic needs in cancer patients.

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North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York, USA.


This study was designed to characterize unmet analgesic needs in a group of cancer patients. One hundred one inpatients were surveyed to document pain prevalence and intensity, satisfaction with pain control and factors associated with unmet analgesic needs during the week prior to admission. Forty-four percent had unmet analgesic needs, defined as pain of moderate or greater than moderate intensity. These patients had a significantly greater prevalence of bone and axillary node involvement, higher than pain intensity, and less satisfaction with pain control. Fifty-nine percent were satisfied with pain control. Dissatisfaction was associated with higher usual pain intensity, less satisfaction with physician information about pain etiology, less frequent attribution of pain to disease, sharp pain, constant and intermittent pain, patient perceptions of less physician concern about pain, patient and physician belief that the patient is receiving insufficient analgesic, and patient wanting more control over analgesic regimen. Patients may benefit from improved treatment of specific syndromes and by attention to communication.

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